Thursday, February 19, 2015

Multicultural Follies

"Nothing to do with Islam."

That's what our political leaders keep telling us when radical Muslims enslave, rape, crucify, behead, and otherwise slaughter people by the thousands all over the world. It has nothing to do with Islam.

Teaching in public school a few years ago, I showed students pictures of burning cars in France. French media said it was exuberant "youths" torching the cars - well over a thousand vehicles in one night. NBC News also called them "youths." French and American media both averted their eyes from the plain truth that youths burning cars all over France were Muslim.

Reuters said only 1137 cars were burned on New Year's Eve in 2009, while 1147 had been torched the year before. Responding to what it called, "another wave of reader complaints that we don't brand these arsonists as Muslims," Reuters explained: "Sure, there were Muslims among them - but there were non-Muslims as well. What value do we add to a news story by using a questionable religious label to describe a political and socio-economic phenomenon?" Nothing to do with Islam. The arsonists were victims of western capitalist greed, they suggest.

When my students asked why media refused to call the "youths" Muslims, I told them it went against their cherished concept of "Multiculturalism." They looked at me with blank faces, having no idea what multiculturalism was. I told them to look it up on their laptops.

Some recited the Wikipedia definition, which said: "Multiculturalism refers to the historical evolution of cultural diversity within a jurisdiction, incarnated by its selection policies and institutionalized by its settlement policies."

"Okay now?" I said. That should clear it up." Some laughed. Most remained confused.

"Countries in Europe have formed into something called the ‘European Union,'" I explained, "kind of a United States of Europe. Elite EU leaders made ‘multiculturalism' one of their founding principles, and it basically means that all cultures are equal. No culture or religion is any better or any worse than any other. They're all the same."

Then I explained how Muslim imams were like priests of Islam, and when many encouraged Muslims in the mosques to kill the rest of us, that made it hard for European leaders to continue insisting that Islam was no worse than any other religion. So what do European leaders do in the face of Muslim violence? "They pretend it isn't happening, that's what. Don't call the arsonists Muslims. They're just ‘youths' getting a little rambunctious."

More than forty thousand cars are torched in France every year. Nothing to do with Islam, though.

Then I showed them media accounts of how radical Muslim US Army Colonel Nidal Hasan shot forty-three American soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" I told them Obama Administration officials insisted the shootings had nothing to do with Islam. The president said: "Well, look, we -- we have seen, in the past, rampages of this sort. And in a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable."

I told them how the Pentagon investigated and published an 86-page report that never mentioned jihad, Muslim, Islam, or Koran. My students knew what all those words meant. Ultimately Obama's Department of Homeland Security explained the Fort Hood shooting as "Workplace violence."

Nothing to do with Islam.

Muslims believe Mohammed was "The Prophet" of Islam and the "Hadith" is an ancient record of Mohammed's sayings, secondary only to the Koran. The Hadith prohibits making images of Mohammed. Radical Muslims kill people who draw cartoons of Mohammed, but President Obama and socialist French President Hollande insist those killings have nothing to do with Islam.

When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) murders thousands of Iraqis and Syrians in the name of Islam, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, and Attorney General Eric Holder maintain it has nothing to do with Islam. When Islamic terrorists from al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and al Shebaab torture and murder thousands of people across Africa and the Middle East in the name of Islam, our leaders assert it has nothing to do with Islam.

When the Koran, the holy book of Islam, instructs Muslims: "...cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them," it has nothing to do with Islam. So what if there are over 100 sections of the Koran encouraging followers to commit violence against non-believers? If our leaders are right, we must conclude that the Koran has nothing to do with Islam.

Get it? The teachings of Mohammed - the Prophet of Islam, the teachings in the Koran - the holy book of Islam, the teachings of imams in the mosques of Islam, and the actions of millions of Muslims around the world - have nothing to do with Islam.

Islam is a religion of peace. If not, multiculturalism would be seen as a fraud, and we can't have that.


‘The government should butt out of parenting’

Lenore Skenazy, aka American’s Worst Mom, first shot to infamy in 2009 when she wrote about letting her nine-year-old son ride the New York City subway home by himself. Since then she has authored a book, Free-Range Kids, and become a champion of so-called free-range parenting.

I chatted to her about her new reality-TV show, World’s Worst Mom, which premiered on the American Discovery Life network in January. In this 13-part series, Skenazy helps extremely nervous and over-protective parents to step back and give their kids the chance to do things on their own.

Nancy McDermott: Free-range parenting has been all over the news this month because of the case of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the Maryland couple who are being investigated by the Child Protective Services for allowing their kids, aged six and 10, to walk home unsupervised from a local park. The Meitivs describe their philosophy of child rearing as ‘free range’ and this has sparked a discussion about whether parents should be able to let their kids do things on their own.

Your blog, Free-Range Kids, features a lot of similar stories of parents getting into hot water over letting their kids do things on their own. In that sense, your TV show seems to go against the grain of what the authorities think parents should be doing. What has the response to the show been like?

Lenore Skenazy: It’s been really good. It seems like people are a lot more receptive to ‘free range’ (ie, normal, non-fearful parenting) than when my son took the subway back in 2009. It’s also important to say that things are not as bad as it might seem from reading my blog. I’m like the equivalent of one of those crime shows that makes you think that every third person is a murderer – because that’s all you’re seeing. But thankfully, cases like the Meitivs’ are still pretty rare.

It’s been a while since we made the show (it was first shown in Canada in 2012). I don’t know why it wasn’t aired in the US sooner, but in some ways the timing couldn’t be better. It seems like most people are more open to ‘free range’ now. Things that seemed really radical and outrageous three years ago when we made the programme just seem ‘right’ now. This is the free-range moment, and the fact that the Meitivs’ case has generated so much interest is a good thing. The show feeds into that: it’s the right message at the right time.

It has also been very nice for me personally. I hadn’t looked at it for a while and watching it now is like visiting old friends. I find myself cheering for the families and remembering times when I thought it might be impossible.

NM: Impossible is how it looked when my sons and I watched it. For people who haven’t seen the show, the first episode, ‘Meltdown in the Museum’, featured a set of parents who wouldn’t allow their kids to play in their big, fenced-in backyard by themselves, and made their six-year-old son ride in a stroller. The dad seemed fairly open-minded but the mom really, sincerely believed you were insane and that you would be eventually locked up to protect the public. They were extreme for sure – but sadly not at all uncommon. How do you even begin to address that level of fear?

LS: It is hard because people feel it very deeply. For instance, there was one family I remember where the mom was convinced that if her children came home with a cut or a bruise it would prove that she was a bad mother. She even admitted that she was secretly scandalised by moms letting their kids go to school wearing a band-aid, thinking ‘Oh my God, I guess they don’t really care!’.

I wasn’t sure they would listen to me. I had this desperate moment early in the filming when I cornered one of our production assistants, who I knew was studying psychology, and blurted out: ‘Tell me everything you know about anxiety!’ But it turned out that I didn’t need what she told me.

What I’ve learned in the course of the show is that parents don’t need therapy. What changes them is seeing their kids happy and competent because they’ve done something on their own. It’s incredibly powerful and I saw it happen over and over again. That’s what really inspired me to expand the free-range programme into schools.

NM: What is the free-range programme and how did it get started?

LS: Back in 2009, just after my son Izzy rode the subway and we were all over the newspapers and television, a teacher here in New York City called me to say she’d just had the kids in her class do a free-range project and wanted to know if I’d like to come along and see their presentations. So I went along and saw all the wonderful things these kids had done.

My favourite project was by an 11-year-old girl who decided to bake an ‘independence cake’. This meant she had to walk to the grocery store by herself, buy all the ingredients, walk back home and bake the cake.

On her poster she described walking the half mile to the store like this: ‘On my way there, everyone looked angry, like they might want to snatch me.’ But she got there safely, found all the things she needed, paid for them with her own money (because that’s what independent people do), then walked home and baked the cake. She wrote about the trip home this way: ‘It was much quicker and more pleasant because I was already used to the walk.’

It really just sums up how transformative one small act can be. She started out on her trip a little fearful, but on the way back, reality flooded in: the distance wasn’t shorter; the people weren’t nicer. What really changed is that she stopped seeing stranger danger everywhere and just saw her neighbourhood as it really was: filled with people, not abductors. I loved that story but it was only after a few years and doing the show that it finally dawned on me that if one class could do it, why not a whole school?

I had the idea when I was visiting a school in Menlo Park, California. The school had chosen ‘confidence’ as its motto for the year. There were all these posters up that read ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’. So I asked them, why don’t you do a free-range project? I told them what I had in mind, the principal, the vice principal and the school psychologist all signed on, and that was that.

NM: How did it work?

LS: Every teacher in the school told each kid to go home and ask their parents if they could do one thing they felt they’re ready to do but haven’t done yet, for whatever reason. It could be something really simple, like walking the dog or going to get a haircut, or riding a bike to school – not extreme things like bungee jumping – just some activity that would have been considered normal a generation ago.

It was strictly voluntary, but knowing the school was endorsing it, a lot of the parents said ‘yes’. In the end, about a third of the 700 students at the school participated.  We were also careful to present it as a one-shot deal. It didn’t mean making a commitment to letting their kids walk to school every day. They just needed to let them do it this once. But that ‘once’ changed everything.

So, for instance, there was one family, where the father was (unusually) more nervous than the mother. Their son, a 10-year-old, wanted to ride his bike to school but his dad said ‘no way’. But his son persisted and showed him the material I’d sent along explaining what the project was about. There was one line in it – actually something someone wrote on my blog – that went ‘all the worry in the world doesn’t prevent death; it prevents life’.

That line affected this father so much that he cut it out and posted it on the kitchen cabinet. Then he and his wife decided to compromise with their son. They told him he could ride his bike over to a friend’s house on a Saturday when there was less traffic. So he went, stayed a long time and came back so grateful and beaming with pride that his mom and dad were overwhelmed. When Monday morning rolled around, his parents looked at each other and said ‘why don’t we just let him ride his bike to school?’. And so he did for the rest of the school year.

Just one thing can have a knock-on effect. There was another kid whose project was to get his hair cut on his own. He came back with a Mohawk! His mother was furious – she hated, hated this haircut. But then she calmed down eventually and thought: ‘If he’s old enough to choose his own haircut, he’s old enough to do more around that house.’ And she started giving him more chores. She also decided to do her own free-range project where she looked at what she was doing for him, things that were a hassle for her, and just stopped doing them. In particular, she stopped doing his homework with him. His grades went down a little bit to start with, but he eventually got back into the swing of things and this time all the efforts were his own.

The ripple effect through the school was palpable. The school psychologist told me that parents were coming up to her asking if they could do it again and bragging about all the things their kids were doing: ‘my kid is making dinner’; ‘my kid is walking the dog!’. The dynamic had flipped so that instead of feeling proud about all that they could do for their kids, they became proud of what their kids could do for themselves.  It really is that simple.

And another thing, when a whole school takes on a project like this, it has the potential to change a whole town and prevent parents being singled out. If there are enough kids out, doing things on their own, walking home from school or the playground, it becomes normal again. Busybodies no longer call up and complain to the authorities, as they did in the Meitivs’ case.

We need to stop the government telling us how to parent. The government is there to save children in danger: so if I’m starving my kid; pimping my kid; giving him drugs; beating him senseless – that’s what the government is there for – to save them from imminent danger. It’s not to say, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do it that way’. That’s the government as mother-in-law, and nobody needs that.

NM: This all sounds great! Are there many schools involved in free-range programmes?

LS:  So far there are projects in California, Texas, Virginia and New York, and I hope that more schools across the UK and America will get involved. And of course, they could have me come and speak. Either way it’s amazing how a complete sea change can come from one simple thing.


UK: New rape laws: turning sex into a crime

Rape is a serious crime: those convicted of it face a lengthy prison sentence. Sexual foolishness or stupidity should not be a crime, although its protagonists may well be deserving of moral censure. There is a line to be drawn between sex that is criminal and sex that lacks the criminal culpability to warrant a lengthy prison sentence. In recent years, that line has moved so that those who deserve the shameful tag ‘rapist’ are now joined by some who do not.

The point was well made by the journalist Sarah Vine, who wrote of sexual behaviour that should not be criminalised: ‘Let’s face it, we’ve all done it at one time or another. Shared a cab home with someone we shouldn’t have; invited the wrong guy in for coffee. Unless you’re a saint, the chances of getting through life without making at least one disastrous sexual choice are very small.’

Acts of sexual foolishness or stupidity by men and women, particularly the young, have always happened. But, as Vine pointed out, ‘it used to be that women who made stupid mistakes with men, who had non-violent sexual encounters in dodgy circumstances – while drunk or otherwise intoxicated, in the heat of the moment or for a million other reasons – did not wake up the next morning and decide they had been raped. They took a shower, gave themselves a stern talking to, maybe told a friend about it , had a bit of a cry – and then moved on as best they could, vowing along the way never to end up in that kind of damn stupid situation again.’ Likewise, men who made stupid sexual decisions would, in days gone by, have learnt from their mistakes, often as part of a process of growing up.

But today, to use Vine’s words, ‘there’s a far easier option’ for the woman: ‘blame the bloke’ by ‘crying rape’. And for the bloke there is now the stark scenario of being woken up not just with a splitting headache and a guilty conscience, but by a policeman’s knock on the door.

Sarah Vine was right to draw attention to the way rape laws are now invoked in respect of sexual encounters that are foolish or stupid, but which should not engage the criminal law. Essentially, rape laws are now being used against some men whose behaviour does not, by a proper yardstick, warrant the tag ‘rapist’.

A good example was considered by the Court of Appeal in 2007, after Benjamin Bree, a 25-year-old without any previous convictions, was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for raping a university student whom he’d met once before. On their second meeting, they’d been out for a meal before returning to the woman’s flat arm in arm. Both had been drinking and, in the woman’s case, this impaired her memory. The woman’s case was that although she remembered various sexual acts, she ‘did not want to have sex, but she did not say so to him’.

Bree’s case was that the woman responded positively to his physical contact and that she removed her own pyjama trousers and asked if he had a condom. The parties agreed that the woman never said or did anything to give the impression she was not consenting, save that the woman claimed to have felt pain at one point, uttered an ‘ow’, and was said to have turned over at one stage to avoid intercourse. On the other hand, Bree described the woman’s movements as ‘pretty enthusiastic’.

So far this might sound like a fairly typical sexual encounter facilitated by alcohol. But a few days later, Bree was arrested at 6am. A most telling part of the court report was that the arresting officer observed Bree ‘to be shocked and extremely upset, and could not believe that an allegation of rape had been made against him’. Nevertheless, Bree was subsequently charged with rape, tried and convicted by a jury, and sentenced to five years in prison.

The Court of Appeal allowed Bree’s appeal, but by then he had spent six months in prison, on the sex offenders’ wing for his own protection. What should trouble anyone about the Bree case is how it could ever have resulted in: first, a complaint to the police; second, an arrest; and third, a prosecution and a jury conviction. Yet the answer to each of these troubling questions is that rape laws are now drawn so widely that Bree’s case is far from being a one-off.

Today, it is not uncommon for rape charges to be brought in respect of foolish or stupid sexual encounters. After presiding over back-to-back trials where a female complainant had been so drunk she could not remember what had happened and, therefore, whether she had consented to sex, Judge Mary Jane Mowat observed that ‘the rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk’.

It was significant that Judge Mowat prefaced her comments by noting she would ‘be pilloried for saying’ them. She may have had in mind the treatment of Ken Clarke MP, who, in 2011, referred to ‘serious rape’. This prompted Labour leader Ed Miliband to call for Clarke’s resignation on the grounds he was suggesting ‘there are other categories of rape’. Clarke spent the rest of the day saying he ‘always believed that all rape is extremely serious’ and he was ‘sorry’ if his comments had given any other impression.

Despite the censorious you-can’t-say-that attitude of some feminists, there is an urgent need, not to debate the seriousness of rape, but to debate what rape is. Rape, properly defined, is serious. But by redefining rape to encompass drunken or foolish sexual activity, which a man believes the woman is consenting to, the crime of rape is, in these instances, being stripped of its criminal culpability.

‘Impossible’, claim rape campaigners with a glib understanding of how rape is now defined. Labour MP Harriet Harman responded to Sarah Vine’s column with an all-too-familiar analogy: ‘If I leave a window open an inch and someone breaks in, steals everything I own and ransacks my house, no one would say it wasn’t a crime or that the offender had “made a mistake”.’

Yet there is no parallel between a burglar who trespasses into a house and steals, and a man who believes a woman is consenting to sex. Trespass followed by theft is inherently unlawful. Sex, though, is inherently lawful, which is why it requires a carefully drawn law before it is criminalised. Traditionally, a conviction for rape could only be secured if the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the man either knew the woman was not consenting to sex or he could not care less whether she was consenting (Morgan, 1975). It was this mental element of the offence (mens rea, as lawyers call it) that ensured that only defendants with an appropriately guilty mind could be convicted of rape.

It should be the defendant’s absence of belief in consent that turns lawful sex into unlawful sex. What links stranger rape in the dark alley with acquaintance rape in the bedroom is the criminal culpability that comes from the man penetrating the woman without honestly believing she has consented. It is his state of mind that may put him behind bars. So long as the defendant has this culpable state of mind, it is correct to say that rape is rape and is always a serious crime.

But rape laws were reformed by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to enlarge significantly the type of behaviour that was criminalised. In particular, under the reformed law, a defendant’s belief that the woman was consenting no longer necessarily results in an acquittal, because the jury must now ask itself whether it was reasonable for the defendant to have believed the complainant was consenting. In other words, the issue of consent no longer turns on what the defendant believed, but on a jury’s view of what it was reasonable of him to have believed.

A man can now be convicted of rape even though he honestly believed the woman was consenting to sex. It is by allowing jurors to disregard the man’s actual belief in favour of what they consider to have been a reasonable belief that the law can criminalise men for acts of sexual foolishness or stupidity. But, in truth, such a man is no more a rapist than the idiot is a thief for taking a woman’s bag from the cloakroom in the unreasonable, but genuinely held, belief that it was his.

The Bree case highlights the problem. Bree said he believed the woman was consenting, a view he supported with her behaviours, and neither the woman nor the circumstances came close to establishing otherwise. Yet the jury’s finding of guilt implies that the jury found such a belief to have been unreasonable. Bree was convicted (albeit cleared on appeal) not for actually having a guilty mind, but because the jury decided he should have had a guilty mind. Bree’s case illustrates how rape laws are unjust for abrogating the fundamental principle of justice that a person should not be convicted of a serious offence unless he actually had a guilty mind.

The injustice of the current law was codified last month by the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, who unveiled a new ‘toolkit’ for police and prosecutors that requires them ‘to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue – how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?’. What Saunders astutely recognises is that juries, armed with the Sexual Offences Act 2003, can and do now convict defendants for acts of sexual foolishness or stupidity. And that if the Benjamin Brees of this world want to avoid spending several years in prison, they would do well to ensure they have evidence to satisfy a jury that their sexual partner ‘was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly’.

As Sarah Vine observed, this is ‘laughably absurd: “Hang on a moment, would you mind awfully just signing this pre-prepared document? If you could just place a tick in the boxes next to the acts that you do consent to, just leave the others blank, and sign and date here, then we can proceed”.’ Nowadays, Romeo would be well advised not just to get the Vine checklist signed but also to keep a breathalyser and sniffer dog by the bed in case Juliet wakes up and claims her consent was not ‘freely and knowingly’ given for want of intoxication from drink or drugs.

Yes, it is ‘laughably absurd’, but it also indicates where rape laws under the Sexual Offences Act have taken us. And for those men who receive the policeman’s knock on the door at six o’clock in the morning, it is a sickening absurdity. For those men who become convicted rapists, who serve years in prison, it is an unjust absurdity. An absurdity, that is, for those men who honestly believed their sexual partner was consenting.

When she wrote her article, Vine must have known that she, like anyone who questions the justice of some rape laws, would be vilified. So she got her retaliation in first by referring to ‘the so-called ”vagenda”: the all-men-are rapists brigade, top feministas like Harriet Harman and the femi-fascist Twitter mob who, increasingly, seem to hold sway in public policy’. Yet there is clearly a need to debate a rape law that put Benjamin Bree behind bars, that can convict a man of rape who honestly believes his sexual partner is consenting, and which enables the DPP effectively to require a suspect to establish that his sexual partner was consenting. Some things are more important than the censorious you-can’t-say-that attitude of some feminists – justice is one of them.


Awareness-raising makes you sick

There is an idea popularised by the sociologist Robert Merton called ‘the law of unintended consequences’. While, as we all know, unintended consequences can be serendipitous in nature, the phrase is more often used to refer to the unforeseen negative outcomes that can result from our actions. The law alerts us to the possibility that, at times, those with the best of intentions are the ones who can do most harm. This is something that many of those behind the ubiquitous ‘awareness raising’ campaigns we have today could do with reflecting on.

Presented as progressive in nature, such campaigns usually aim to increase our knowledge of a variety of issues, alongside raising funds for specific causes. However, far from being progressive, or even benign in nature, there are many negative aspects to the current trend of awareness-raising.

First, there is the ubiquity of the awareness-raising messages. A cursory glance at Project Britain’s calendar of awareness-raising events shows us that, in March 2015 alone, numerous awareness-raising events are taking place, including ‘Brain Awareness Week’, ‘World Glaucoma Week’ and ‘World Kidney Day’. As the year goes on, we will have our awareness raised about many other issues, including child abuse, alcohol misuse, domestic abuse, heart disease, cancer, stress and a variety of mental-health problems. Looking at this list, it would appear that a lack of awareness is the No1. problem facing humanity today. As one commentator, tongue firmly in cheek, put it, ‘if there is anything more important than raising awareness’ he is not aware of it.

Far from helping us to grapple with society’s problems, such campaigns only work to increase our anxiety, bombarding the public with a bewildering and neverending slew of messages that tell us we are at risk from myriad threats. However, such pernicious effects stem from a more profound political problem. Awareness-raising campaigns are frequently presented as a form of political action; by raising people’s awareness, campaigners say, they are empowering them to take control over their lives. However, the focus of these campaigns is more often focused on our own lifestyles and relationships, rather than on any broader political project. As I have pointed out previously on spiked, the concept of personal empowerment is more often used to draw people into forms of state governance, over which they have little meaningful control.

Indeed, the current obsession with ‘raising awareness’ actually represents the negation of political action, and its replacement by a form of top-down, therapeutic moralising. For some activists, awareness-raising is the contemporary equivalent of the consciousness-raising political action of the Sixties and Seventies. For many on the left in the Sixties, the problem was that the masses, unlike themselves of course, suffered from ‘false consciousness’, blinding them to the reality of their oppression. Similarly, today’s campaigners see a lack of awareness as the problem dooming the masses to disease and despair. In each case, there is a clear moral line being drawn – in the former, between those with true consciousness and those with false consciousness; in the latter, between the aware and the unaware.

Such top-down approaches to social and political issues miss the collective dimension of politics. Yes, people have views that they think correct, and consequently think that those with opposing views are wrong. But it is through a process of struggle, argument and reflection that political consciousness is shaped. Top-down ‘truth telling’ is a meagre substitute for this process.

However, there is one key difference between the consciousness-raisers of the Sixties and the awareness-raisers of today. At least, the activists of the Sixties saw their role as spreading a particular message. By contrast, the activists of today are more interested in displaying their own awareness – through wristbands and ribbons – rather than spreading it.

In an illuminating analysis of the rise of ‘ribbon culture’ – the trend for people to wear awareness ribbons and charity wristbands – Sarah Moore notes that many wristband and ribbon wearers have little specific knowledge of the charity, illness or issue symbolised by the ribbon they are wearing. She notes how, for some, the choice of which ribbon to wear was made on the basis of which one best matched the clothes they were wearing that day.

Moore goes on to note that wearing a ribbon or wristband was often done as a means of demonstrating that the wearer was in a state of self-awareness, as opposed to being aware of a specific cause or issue. In other words, it was an expression of the self, of the wearer’s moral status as ‘aware’, that was being presented for public consumption. Showing awareness, then, becomes an act of self-expression, deprived of a political outlook or frame of reference. This is particularly true of ribbons which promote health-related causes, which become a display of the individual’s awareness of health risks and their commitment to avoiding them. In this sense, the focus of awareness-raising becomes the survival of the self – a desire to prevent death rather than an affirmation of life and the political possibilities therein.

Far from being benign, the cult of awareness-raising has a clear and detrimental effect.  In order to combat such a corrosive trend, and reinvigorate the public and political sphere, we must raise awareness of the dangers of awareness-raising.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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